Marystown is a town in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, with a population of around 5,000. Situated 306 km from the province’s capital, St. John’s, it is on the Burin Peninsula. Take a look below for 25 interesting and awesome facts about Marystown, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
1. Until the early 1990s, its economy was largely based on shipbuilding, and it is due in part to this that the town experienced a population increase of 295% in just over a decade.
2. The town was also dependent on the fish plant for employment.
3. Though the shipyard still holds a presence in the town, residents have had to look elsewhere for economic subsistence in the last decade or so.
4. The closure of the fish plants in Newfoundland has also had its hand in the decline in economic subsistence.
5. Mortier Bay also served a strategic role during World War II, and was the site selected to evacuate the Royal Family and regroup the British Navy in the event of German invasion of Britain.
6. Currently fish farming and the shipyard remain important to the local economy; in fact, construction of the world’s largest fish hatchery, the Grieg NL project, began at the town in 2019.
7. Marystown lies on hummocky pyroclastic volcanic rock of mixed composition.
8. This rock is overlain by very stony sandy loam glacial till which has a classic podzol soil profile in undisturbed areas; this is named as Toslow soil association.
9. The vegetation at the time of the soil survey was a barren dominated by sphagnum mosses, heath-type shrubs, and mountain alder.
10. Forest vegetation, mostly of coniferous trees, has developed in many areas around town as can be seen on Google Street View.
11. While the town contains a diverse mixture of churches of varying denominations, the town is almost entirely Christian.
12. Established in 1910, the original edifice, constructed in the early 1900s had to be reconstructed in the late 1970s due to a fire.
13. In more recent years, the church has received much attention from the news when a family of illegal immigrants from Israel resided there as a place of sanctuary.
14. Alexi and Angela Portnoy and their five children (the three youngest of whom were born in Canada) stayed in the church’s basement for a total of 962 days while seeking citizenship status.
15. The family was ultimately deported to Israel, but their supporters vowed to try to help the family to return.
16. Establishment of the church began in 1956. It was not until 1958 that the first Pentecost church in Marystown was officially completed.
17. Since then there have been three Pentecost churches erected in the Marystown area: the original edifice in 1958, the second in 1974, and the current church that was built in 1995.
18. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the Seventh Day Adventists established a significant population in Marystown.
19. The construction of the first church began in 1985 along with a Seventh-Day school. Though the construction was completed much earlier, 1987 denotes the official church opening.
20. By 2018, it was recognized that the region exhibited significant unemployment, but also that the potential workforce was not sufficient to support shipyard and aquaculture expansions envisioned in subsequent years.
21. Shipyard workers are represented by at least two unions, Marine Workers Federation – Unifor Local 20 and the Marine Office and Technical Employees Unit.
22. For many years the fish plant in Marystown created hundreds of jobs in the small town. Originally operated by Fishery Products International (FPI) the plant was sold to Ocean Choice International (OCI) in 2007.
23. In 2011, the plant employed roughly 240 people seasonally. In November 2011, provincial government-appointed auditors backed up claims by OCI that they were losing millions of dollars each year operating the fish plant.
24. On December 2, 2011, the company announced that they would permanently close their Marystown and Port Union fish plants and invest money into other plants in the province. Demolition of the plant began in 2015.
25. Marystown and surrounding area is home to four public schools, Marystown Central High School, Sacred Heart Academy, Pearce Junior High, and Donald C. Jamieson Academy. Post secondary institutions include two public trade-colleges, College of the North Atlantic, and Keyin College.